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Hi, my name is Fern and I am a second year bioengineering student. I completed my A-levels in the summer of 2018. I studied biology, chemistry and maths at sixth form.
Loughborough was my insurance choice so up until results day I had only focussed on my firm choice university, however, on results day I had missed out on the grades. I was initially disappointed with my grades and didn’t feel like celebrating, but not getting my first choice was the best thing that could have happened to me.
I woke up early on results day, constantly refreshing UCAS track. It then came through I had been accepted into Loughborough University to study bioengineering. Initially I didn’t know how to feel, I had worked hard to achieve the grades for my first choice university but hadn’t reach that goal, yet, I knew I had been given an opportunity at Loughborough. Looking back, it is easy to be caught up in the disappointment of not achieving the grades, however, Loughborough ticked all the boxes that I was looking for in a university, it had the option to do a placement or study abroad, great facilities, good transport links and positive reviews.
When making my decision I contacted a member of the undergraduate admissions team from my department at Loughborough to see if I could look around the campus again and they were very accommodating.
From this I knew the staff were supportive and the ambassador who showed me around was positive and proactive and I could see their enthusiasm for Loughborough. As it was the summer, most of the students had gone home yet the campus still had a lot of life, there were people playing sports on the field and staff and PhD students sitting having lunch. It was a very green and open campus, which had a great atmosphere even when most students had gone home.
Fast forward two years and I can say that the campus does become very vibrant when all the students are back. I have met some amazing people and had some great experiences. I love the diversity of my course; I am learning so much and have access to great facilities, such as the STEMLab.
As Bioengineering is a multi-disciplinary degree, we have had a lot of access to the STEMLab facilities and have used the 3D printers, electronics lab, materials lab, bio labs and the computer aided engineering studio. Loughborough is a supportive university and has facilities such as the Mathematic Learning Support Centres, which were beneficial for me as I didn’t study A-level Physics. My lecturers and department have been supportive, and I’ve met some amazing people from my course, halls, societies and ambassador work.
No matter what university you are at you can create your own opportunities. I was fortunate in being accepted onto a 5 day Human Space Physiology training course with the European Space Agency. This was an awesome experience and I got to meet students from all over Europe.
Loughborough is a quiet market town but has excellent transport links, with the nearest cities being Nottingham and Leicester, meaning there is plenty to do, with societies, sports and friends. Even though it is in a similar part of the country to my hometown, when you are surrounded by students and living away from home for the first time, it has a different vibe and feels just as exciting and daunting as moving to somewhere totally different.
If you are concerned about accommodation, there are lots of options both on and off campus.
I originally wanted a self-catered, en suite room; however, this is a popular choice and as an insurance choice student I did not get this. I lived on campus and I was offered a catered hall with a shared bathroom; I was apprehensive as this was the opposite of what I wanted.
However, being catered for worked well for me as it took the pressure off meal preparation and during exam season it saved a lot of time. I also got to meet a variety of people at the canteen as well as the people in my block. I would recommend keeping an open mind when applying for accommodation. Everyone will initially be apprehensive, but you are all in the same situation.
I can tell you not to worry and what is meant to be will be and all the other clichés, but if you were anything like me nothing was reassuring when waiting for your results. But I hope reading my story will reassure you that things can and will work out and it’s what you make of the situation. Nothing can change the results that are in that envelope and I empathise that this year has been particularly difficult with the sudden changes.
However, try to enjoy this summer as best you can in these strange times and good luck! It’s natural to worry and to feel uncertain about the future but remember there are options and you can make the best out of whatever situation you are dealt. If you have any doubts or concerns about any university you have applied to, get in contact and speak to people to ensure that you are making the right choice for you.